The Homeless Above & Below
Did you happen to notice the birds chirping yesterday and this morning, finally returning North after their nomadic winter sojourn? Fortunate enough to hear them in two boroughs and across four neighborhoods after waking up to see seagulls on a neighboring roof, I felt somehow more alive yesterday as the snow began to melt with the arrival of our birdsongs. On my way home last night, I began to read The Mole People by Jennifer Toth. Only twenty pages into the work, this author had already brought me into an oddly hope-filled but despairing world of the homeless living in the tunnels beneath the city, all within the span of her first chapter.
Somehow, the juxtaposition of Spring-inspired birds with a small glimpse into the true underbelly of society felt right. Realizing that black and white, deep despair and the ascent of freedom co-exist in the same city, air, time, and space takes some effort. An even greater challenge lies in trying to remember and live with that truth today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our limited lives. So often, we cling to our beliefs and fears so unwaveringly that we deny the other people and creatures who inhabit our Earth.
Spend some time outdoors today, hearing the birds, interacting with the homeless, the needy, the elderly, and the downtrodden. You know, those people we like to pretend we don’t see. In the end, we all die together, buried underneath the city and soaring through the heavens. Funny how we try so hard to forget the proximity of these extremes in life while setting all our hopes upon them in death. Wouldn’t we gain so much more from living in the truth, today?